The Port Authority is reportedly investigating Century Waste Services, the New Jersey based trash hauler with a terrible safety history, after a dislodged tire killed a civilian NYPD employee.
Last Wednesday around 6:30 a.m. Robert Martinez was on the Gowanus Expressway near Seventh Avenue when the tire of a Century garbage truck, going in the opposite direction, flew off, went over the median and into Martinez's windshield, killing him.
The Port Authority is now examining the company's safety record. It had been cited for many violations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including "Wheel fasteners loose and/or missing" and "Axle positioning parts defective/missing" in February. Further, its vehicle "out of service" is 65%, compared to the national average of 20.7%.
The Port Authority has granted Century two contracts, at a combined value of $458,931. The most recent contract for Refuse Removal had a start date of last Wednesday, the day of the accident that killed Martinez.
"In light of the accident that occurred [last] week, the Port Authority’s independent Inspector General will investigate the recent safety record of Century Waste Services, and we will determine whether to keep doing business with the company,” Port Authority agency spokesman Steve Coleman told the NY Post.
Council Member Justin Brannan, who represents the part of Brooklyn where the incident happened, said, "Century has a long history of loose wheels, failed inspections, reckless drivers and dangerous crashes. Unfortunately, reckless disregard for safety seems to be the rule, not the exception, among private carters. Fatal crashes are up in this industry, even as Vision Zero is driving fatalities down overall."
The owner of Century Waste, Marc Savino, is the son of Frank Savino, who "agreed to a lifetime ban during the city’s 1990s crackdown on organized crime and corruption in the private trash hauling industry," reports ProPublica. A top employee at the Savino family companies was a friend with a member of the Gambino crime family, and used that friendship to obtain waste removal contracts.